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Bird of the Week: White Headed Woodpecker

Okanogan Country | 10/21/2019 | Methow Valley, The Great Outdoors, Wildlife Viewing

"The White-headed Woodpecker is one of my personal favorite birds of our Ponderosa Pine forests. These woodpeckers are not especially abundant - in fact they are currently candidates for listing on the WA state endangered species list and they are a species-of-concern for Audubon Washington - but they can be locally common in Okanogan and surrounding NCW counties. They are unique in other ways too. The White-headed Woodpecker is the only North American bird that has a white head and a black body (the males have a splash of red on the back of their heads). They make a distinctive call that has two or three fast, sharp notes, unlike the single sharp calls of our other woodpeckers like the Hairy or Downy. Plus, they rarely hammer on trees to excavate bugs, instead they pry and chip away bark, so they are often very quiet and go unnoticed. But they will come to suet and seed feeders and they like water features so if you live in mature ponderosa pines you have a good chance of attracting them to your yard!" Mary Kiesau | Local Naturalist and Photographer

Fun Facts

Information from the Seattle Audubon Society

  • The White-headed Woodpecker has white wing-patches, visible both when the bird is perched and when it flies.
  • White-headed Woodpecker nest in cavities typically excavated in dead or diseased trees, often within 10 feet of the ground, lower than those of many other woodpeckers. 
  • Both sexes incubate and feed the 4-5 young.
  • Incubation typically lasts about 14 days, and young fledge at about 26 days.
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